• Sai Sandhya

Toxic Positivity

When I read these two words together in an article some days back, I was pretty shocked. Being positive is obviously a good thing, how could that possibly get toxic? So, I did my research and read up about what exactly it was and I’m going to try to explain it here in a simple way.

Toxic positivity arises when someone has the “good vibes only” attitude in life. When you lose something important like a job, people around tell you to be grateful for what you have and forget about what happened. Even if someone is grateful for what they already have, doesn’t mean losing the job is a good thing or that it didn’t suck. There is nothing wrong with positivity but when it is forced on you or by you, it becomes harmful.

Toxic positivity in simple words is an obsession with positive thinking. It is not acknowledging the underlying sadness and masking it with a forced positive tone. This can be internal or external. When someone wants to look happy all the time and hides their feeling under “good vibes only” it is internal. It can be external when I am grieving about something and a third party tells me to look at the bright side and have gratitude for what I already have.

I am nowhere implying that being positive is toxic. Doctors and researchers have proved that when this positivity becomes excess and an obsession, then it tends to become toxic. Being negative is okay. Being negative is a way to process emotions, it's only human. You do not have to fake positivity. (Read:https://www.letswritetogether.net/post/it-s-okay-to-not-be-okay )

Now when one recognizes that it is toxic positivity, how to avoid it? There are various ways to avoid it.

If it is internal, then it is necessary to recognize negative emotions and embrace them. Talking to loved ones about these emotions and seeking professional help from a therapist will help.

Just like your mental health is important, it is also important to take care of people around us. Knowingly or unknowingly, we are being toxic person and we need to recognize that and stop. Encouraging people to speak their emotions and just lending them an ear without being judgmental or giving unwanted advice. It is okay to sometimes agree with what a person is telling (even if negative) and not pointing out a positive direction to it or putting a good spin on what the person is sharing will help the person. Even though we feel we are doing a good thing but pointing light and giving a positive spin, might have adverse effects on what someone is going through. They might start feeling guilty about not acknowledging the good things.

We are all here to grow and help other people grow. Let us not put down people. Let us recognize what toxic positivity is and spread the word so no one does it or just to be self-aware. Like Michael Jackson said, “heal the world, make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race”. So let us do it!

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